His badge could have been printed off the internet.
I practiced my best "Gibbs interrogation face" as the young man stood seven feet off my front porch.
When the knock came, I sent the raging canines out the back to bark furiously at the would-be inconvenience causer. I checked the curtain to make sure it was "just a salesman", checked for unknown vehicles parked near by, and that he was alone. Then I swiftly opened the front door, slid out the porch and closed the front door behind me.
My curtains stay drawn on that side of the house and with the front door closed, he couldn't see inside my home.
He said that he had been sent
He was asking questions about my home alarm system under the guise that he'd been "sent out."
More than one company has come out over the years claiming they were the ones to have originally installed it, claimed that it was a promotional offer, and that because I hadn't paid for the equipment, they could keep lowering the bill.
I didn't install the system. I don't even pay that particular company. They obviously don't know that. And every time it seems to be a different company.
"Who are you?" I asked.
I was crossed between feeling "on alert" and smiling with satisfaction because I was about to handle this one without a hint of nervousness. Seven seasons of NCIS told me to keep my face extremely unreadable while maintaining solid eye contact.
He repeated his opening statement, "I was sent out about your security system. They sent me out."
"Who are you?" I repeated.
He didn't seem to be in distress, lost, or in need of medical attention. He wasn't wearing any uniforms or flashing any badges. He wasn't producing a properly executed search warrant.
And he still hasn't answered my question.
I felt the corner of my jaw twitch.
"I'm from [XYZ company that starts with an F]." He didn't give me his name. Just pulled up his badge. The one that looked like it had been printed off the internet.
He continued, "It's OK. You can take a picture of it and call my company to verify my identity."
Verifiable credentials technology, the desire for every last business to get plugged into the Sovrin Network, and all its related goodness entered my brain but short explanations failed. This entire interaction could have been prevented.
"I don't have time to verify your identity today."
"Well, they sent me out, and it's obvious you don't know that."
"Who sent you out?" I asked, emphasizing "sent you." My arms crossed in front of me and my feet planted shoulder width apart.
He looked to the left and to the right and did a slight involuntary eye roll. "They did." Pause. "About the alarm system." He tapped his clipboard.
My reply was firm, quiet, but polite, "I've never heard of it and I don't discuss my home security measures."
"Were you the ones who installed it?" The dogs continued to bark furiously at the fence. I made him speak up to repeat the question.
He gave me a look that said, "Why don't you quiet down your dogs?"
I'm glad he wasn't standing directly on my front porch.
I made myself even more clear, "I'm not answering any of your questions."
I returned to my static "Gibbs interrogation face". Two very slow, but deep breaths on my part and he was allegedly crossing something off the list, thanking me for my time.
It was only once back inside the house that I smiled.
In three to six months, someone else would be back, if it was a legitimate sales call.
And if it wasn't? I hope I came across as someone who shouldn't be messed with.
How you answer questions matter
You'll notice that during the interaction, I never revealed:
- my name
- my relationship status
- my home security measures
- what company I have or had for previous home security
- anything indicating I was willing to help him sort out his paperwork mess
- or whether or not there is a problem with any alleged billing.
It's not safe to.
I had no idea who this person really was or what their true intentions were.
Verifiable Credentials Technology could have prevented this
With verifiable credentials technology, that company could have:
- asked me for a trusted connection,
- made and verified an appointment, and
- sent me verified identity information about the rep they're sending out.
In less than 30 seconds.
The company could have asked me for:
- updated information,
- displayed the terms I would be giving permission to, and or
- compensated me for that information.
The company would have had fresh information to work with, directly from the source.
But that didn't happen. And the man who had been standing off my porch couldn't have done anything about it anyway until his company adopts the technology.
Verifiable credentials technology isn't widely adopted yet. The legal course however, is fleshed out, and fully available.
NCIS won't be able to teach you every little thing. The legal course can.
By taking the legal course, you'll learn exactly what types of things to comply with and which things you can safely ignore.
I didn't feel a bit bad about allowing the young man to be incorrect about his assumptions.
In the past, I may have tried to correct him and in doing so unintentionally revealed all sorts of personal and sensitive information to a perfectly good stranger, just because I wanted to "be helpful."
He walked away with nothing. If he was sent by someone trying to get me to volunteer information on a hidden camera, he got nothing.
Learn how to protect yourself.
Get the keys to justice: http://www.keystojustice.com